Violin Competition | Public Relations
July 11, 2019
Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020
The Menuhin Competition is the world’s leading international competition for young violinists, held every two years in a different city (most recently in Geneva in 2018, London in 2016, Austin, Texas in 2014, Beijing in 2012 and Oslo in 2010). It is one of the few major competitions with a Junior division, which is open to very young violinists. The co-winners of the Junior division in 2018 were ten-year-old Christian Li (the youngest-ever Menuhin Competition winner) and eleven-year-old Chloe Chua.

Founded by Yehudi Menuhin more than three decades ago, the Competition attracts hundreds of musicians from all over the world, inviting only 44 of the very best young violinists - 22 at the Junior level (under 16) and 22 at the Senior level (under 22) - to compete. The Competition discovers, encourages and nurtures exceptionally talented young artists from all corners of the globe to develop into the next generation of fine classical musicians.

The next Menuhin Competition will be held in Richmond, Virginiain direct partnership with major local organizations, including the Richmond Symphony - which hosts the Senior Finals and Closing Gala as part of its subscription series - as well as the City of Richmond, Community Idea Stations (WCVE), University of Richmond, and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, elected in 2016 as the city’s youngest mayor, is a staunch advocate for arts and culture in Richmond. He championed the city’s bid to host the 2020 Menuhin Competition, and he led a delegation to Geneva in 2018 to accept the honor. “Richmond is a thriving and diverse city that is home to a number of internationally-recognized artistic, educational and cultural attractions,” Stoney said at the announcement. “We are thrilled to be hosting the Menuhin Competition in 2020…welcoming the most talented young musicians in the world to our city.”

The Competition has been characterized as the “Olympics of the Violin,” and for more than three decades has established itself as the world’s leading international competition for young violinists.  Founded in 1983, the Menuhin Competition has served countless aspiring concert violinists as a major catalyst for initiating the trajectory from the very early days of their international solo and orchestral careers into household names. Notable alumni include Ray ChenTasmin LittleJulia FischerChad HoopesNikolaj Szeps-Znaider, and Stephen Waarts.

The jury of the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 represents the highest caliber of educational institutions, orchestras, and competition circuits. It comprises violinist Pamela Frank (Chair), violinist and conductor Joji Hattori (Vice-Chair), violinist Noah Bendix-Balgleyviolinist Ray Chenviolinist and entrepreneur Aaron Dworkinviolinist Ning Fengcellist Ralph Kirshbaumpianist Anton Neland violinist Soyoung Yoon. “The Menuhin Competition is special for many reasons – it’s an inspiring event because it’s more like a festival than a ‘contest’ and it’s ultimately a celebration of the violin,” remarks Jury Chair Pamela Frank.  “I think the participants feel they’re able to experience the sheer joy of violin playing whilst expressing themselves, which reminds us all that the real winner is the music. It’s a friendly place and inspiring for all musicians to be a part of it.”

Concert highlights from the Menuhin Competition will include performances by last year’s joint winners of the Junior 1st Prize, Chloe Chua and Christian Li, as well as each of the jury members. Guest artists include the Richmond Symphony Youth OrchestraRegina Carter Quartet, fiddlers and pedagogues Mark and Maggie O’Connor, the Sphinx Virtuosi, and many celebrated Menuhin Competition alumni.  Concert highlights include the world premiere of a new work for violin and string orchestra by Mason Bates and brilliant programs with selections by Shostakovich, Sarasate, Rimsky-Korsakov, Beethoven, Bloch, Schumann, Piazzolla, Jessie Montgomery and Michael Abels, among many others.

 

EVENT LISTING
Thursday, May 14, 2020, 7:30PM
Opening Gala Concert
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

Chloe Chua, violin *
Christian Li, violin **
Soyoung Yoon, violin ***
Richmond Symphony
Jahja Ling, conductor

Shostakovich Festive Overture in A Major, Op. 96
Saint-Saëns Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Op.28 **
Sarasate Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25 *
Prokofiev Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19 ***
Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34

The Opening Gala Concert kicks off the Menuhin Competition in spectacular fashion, with violin solos performed by three previous winners of the 1st Prize, including an outstanding juror, alongside celebratory orchestral works. Chloe Chua and Christian Li, joint winners of the Geneva 2018 Junior 1st Prize, and Soyoung Yoon, 2020 juror and winner of the Boulogne 2002 Senior 1st Prize, are conducted by guest conductor Jahja Ling and accompanied by the Richmond Symphony, which closes the concert with Rimsky-Korsakov’s effervescent and virtuosic Capriccio Espagnol.

***

May 15-18, 2020, 10AM-1:30PM & 2:15PM-5:30PM
Competition Rounds
Modlin Center for the Arts, Camp Concert Hall, University of Richmond

May 15: Junior 1st Round, Day 1
May 16: Junior 1st Round, Day 2
May 17: Senior 1st Round, Day 1
May 18: Senior 1st Round, Day 2

Join our all-star jury in their search for the next generation of great artists when 44 of the best young violinists under the age of 22 from across the globe take to the stage. Each young musician will perform a recital of works for solo violin and violin with piano accompaniment. The repertoire covers three centuries including works by Bach, Telemann, Paganini, Rode, Mozart, Schubert, Franck, Ravel, Poulenc and Kreisler, as well as each Senior competitor’s choice of a recently composed work for solo violin and freestyle improvisation for the Juniors. Audience may come and go in between individual recitals

***

Friday, May 15, 2020, 7:30PM
Geneva Junior Prizewinners’ Concert
Thomas Dale High School

Chloe Chua, violin
Christian Li, violin

Enjoy an evening of musical mastery with two former prizewinners, 13-year-old Chloe Chua and 12-year-old Christian Li (joint winners of the Geneva 2018 Junior 1st Prize) accompanied by the Menuhin Competition’s Artistic Director, Gordon Back.

***

Saturday May 16, 2020, 7:30pm
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Spring Concert
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

Ning Feng, violin
Daniel Myssyk, conductor
Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra

Richmond’s premiere youth ensemble, the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra, performs Sibelius’s ever-popular Violin Concerto with virtuosic violinist and juror Ning Feng, who was a senior prizewinner of the Competition in 2000, alongside other works from the classical canon conducted by Daniel Myssyk. 

***

Sunday May 17, 2020, 7:30pm
Jurors Showcase
Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall, W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University

Pamela Frank, violin *
Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin **
Joji Hattori, viola ^
Ralph Kirshbaum, cello º
Anton Nel, piano ˟
Gordon Back, piano ***

Beethoven Sonata in A Major for Cello and Piano, Op. 69º ˟
Bloch Baal Shem: Three Pictures of Hassidic Life, B. 47 ** ***
Schumann Piano Quintet in E-Flat Major, Op. 44 * ** ^ º ˟

Five jurors of the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 join Artistic Director, Gordon Back, in a powerhouse evening showcasing chamber music at its very best. The program celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and the 140th anniversary of Ernest Bloch and culminates with the five jurors joining together to perform the brilliant Schumann Piano Quintet in E-flat Major.

***

Monday May 18, 2020, 7:30pm
Regina Carter Quartet
November Theatre, Virginia Repertory Center

The American jazz violinist Regina Carter has a career that crosses genres. Recipient of some of the top musical awards in the country, including the MacArthur “genius” award, she has been widely hailed for her mastery of her instrument and her drive to expand its possibilities. This special concert featuring Regina Carter and her quartet is presented at the historic Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre. In collaboration with the Richmond Jazz Society.

***

Tuesday May 19, 2020, 10:00AM-1:30PM & 2:20PM-5:30PM
Junior Semi-Finals
Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall, W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University

Giving the young competitors from all over the world an opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of their playing, this round features chamber music collaboration in Dvořák’s Terzetto, performed with previous prizewinner Timothy Chooi and Barry Schiffman and a Beethoven sonata with piano. Each semi-finalist will also play their own choice of a virtuoso work and a recently composed work for solo violin. Audience may come and go in between individual recitals.

***

Tuesday May 19, 2020, 7:30PM
Kreutzer Sonata and the Sonata Mulattica
Perkinson Recital Hall, North Court, University of Richmond

Ning Feng, violin
Anton Nel, piano

Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata, Violin Sonata No. 9, Op. 47
Rita Dove Sonata Mulattica : A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play (excerpts)

To honor Beethoven’s 250th centenary, arguably his greatest Sonata for piano and violin, “Kreutzer Sonata” will be performed interwoven with readings from U.S. poet laureate Rita Dove’s collection of poems “Sonata Mulattica: A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play”, published in 2009 about the life of Afro-European violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860).  Bridgetower was the original dedicatee of Beethoven’s sonata, as well as the violinist at the premiere. After the premiere performance Beethoven and Bridgetower had a falling out, causing Beethoven to change the dedication to Rodolphe Kreutzer.

***

Wednesday May 20, 2020, 10:00AM-1:30PM & 2:20PM-4:30PM
Senior Semi-Finals
Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall, W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University

Nine Senior semi-finalists will play for their place in the coveted Senior Finals. This round sees each violinist collaborate with guitarist Chaconne Klaverenga in Piazzolla’s “Histoire du Tango” and give world premiere performances of a new commission by Mark O’Connor. Each semi-finalist will also perform the 1st movement of a Mozart concerto and a virtuoso work of their choice with or without piano. Audience may come and go in between individual recitals.

***

Wednesday May 20, 2020, 7:30PM
Mark and Maggie O’Connor
The Byrd Theatre

The American fiddling legend Mark O’Connor comes to the Byrd Theatre with his wife Maggie as the violin duo highlights Virginia’s own fiddling roots through their music. The program offers a broad and interconnecting collection of American music through violin/fiddle solos and duos, with additional music by Mark O'Connor on guitar.

***

Thursday May 21, 2020, 10:00am-12:00 noon, 12:30pm-2:30pm & 3:00pm-5:00pm
Masterclasses
Academic Learning Commons, Virginia Commonwealth University

Watch our jury of internationally acclaimed performers guide the next generation of outstanding musicians. Each juror will lead a two-hour open masterclass at Virginia Commonwealth University.

***

Thursday May 21, 2020, 7:30PM
Sphinx Virtuosi Showcase
Modlin Center for the Arts, Camp Concert Hall, University of Richmond

Sphinx Virtuosi
Joji Hattori,
 violin *
Elena Urioste, violin **
Jessie Montgomery Starburst for string orchestra
Walker Lyric for Strings

Piazzolla Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas [The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires] **
Svendsen Romance, Op. 26 *
Perkinson Alla Burletta, 3rd movement from Generations: Sinfonietta No. 2 for Strings
Michael Abels Delights and Dances

The Sphinx Virtuosi is one of the United States’ most dynamic professional chamber orchestras. Comprised of 18 of the nation’s top Black and Latinx classical soloists, primarily alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition, these artists come together as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences. As Artist-in-Residence at the Menuhin Competition, this concert showcases their mission of advancing diversity in classical music by presenting varied programs of works by composers of color alongside well-known masterpieces.  This concert will include a pre-concert talk at 6:00pm with Aaron Dworkin, juror as well as Founder of the Sphinx Organization, and Dr. Ronald Crutcher, President of the University of Richmond.

***

Friday May 22, 2020, 3:30PM
The Danger of a Single Story: The Importance of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Arts and their Role in Society - Panel Discussion
Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

Aaron Dworkin, 2020 Juror, violinist, and founder of the Sphinx Organization, leads a panel discussion facilitated by University of Richmond president Dr. Ronald Crutcher. The role and importance of diversity in art – not only in music, but also in dance and visual art – will be discussed, featuring an audience Q&A session as well. 

***

Friday May 22, 2020, 7:30PM
Junior Finals
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

Sphinx Virtuosi
Five Junior finalists

Mason Bates New commission for violin and string orchestra (world premiere)
Vivaldi
 The Four Seasons, Op. 8, Nos. 1-4

The Finals of the Junior section in the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020. Five of the world’s best young violinists under the age of 16 will compete for one of the coveted awards. Each finalist will lead one of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons from the violin and perform a new commission for violin and string orchestra written by Mason Bates.

Audience members will also have the opportunity to vote for a finalist to be awarded the Audience Prize.  The prizewinners will be announced at the end of the evening.

Saturday May 23, 2020, 7:30pm
Senior Finals
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

Richmond Symphony
Andrew Litton
, conductor
Four Senior finalists

Lalo Symphonie Espagnole for violin and orchestra in D minor, Op. 21 (without 3rd movement)
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64
Saint-Saëns Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, Op. 61       
Wieniawski Violin Concerto No. 2 in D minor, Op. 22      

Witness the culmination of the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020. Four of the world’s best young violinists perform their choice of violin concerto from the Competition repertoire in the final stage of their journey to be awarded one of the sought-after prizes.

Audience members will also have the opportunity to vote for a finalist to be awarded the Audience Prize. The prizewinners will be announced at the end of the evening.

***

Sunday, May 24, 2020, 5:00pm
Closing Gala Concert
Carpenter Theatre, Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts

Richmond Symphony
Sphinx Virtuosi
Andrew Litton
, conductor
Junior Competition winner*
Senior Competition winner**
Ray Chen, violin***
 

Michael Abels Delights & Dances
Vivaldi Concerto from The Four Seasons, Op. 8 * Concerto movement to be announced**
Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (1st movement) ***
De Falla Suite No. 2 from The Three-Cornered Hat

The Closing Gala Concert brings the Menuhin Competition Richmond 2020 to a rousing conclusion, featuring the Junior and Senior winners, inspirational juror and previous winner of the Senior 1st Prize Ray Chen, the Sphinx Virtuosi, and the Richmond Symphony with guest conductor Andrew Litton. The joyful Three-Cornered Hat Suite draws the 2020 Competition to a thrilling close

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